Andretti Autosport has been using the iPad with its drivers to help them absorb the complex data readouts from their practice laps. Every aspect of the car’s functions is measured, including the brake reaction times, engine temperature and the suspension movement as well as the stats of the driver’s laps themselves.
The process represents a step in efficiency from traditional paper read outs that used to be handed to the driver, often with hand marked up notes. Of course, lap tops have been used for some time to display data to drivers, however, the use of the iPad means an easy to handle option that a driver can hold and scroll through from the cockpit (and without having to take off his gloves) with ease. It also means a lot of data can be displayed dynamically, through moving graphs and other visuals. In turn, vision communication of data can be easily manipulated, emphasised and annotated as needed. Of course, most of us reading this are not racing drivers (well, not professional ones anyway)! However, the parallels are obvious, immense amounts of complex data needing to be communicated in a non-traditional working environment with the added requirement of time pressure. Plus data that lends itself to being visually represented and manipulated. My first thought would be any type of location based professionals, from engineers, geoscientists and even medical doctors, who need timely communication of information in an easy to handle format. Geoscientists working in a prospecting and mining environment will be able to visualise data readouts of the surrounding landscapes for example. For doctors, the advantages are obvious as they need to access more than traditional text based data, be it scanning and zooming in on x rays and other visuals to looking at complex chemical formulas for study.
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